DES MOINES – The nation has faced a dwindling supply of nurses since before the pandemic and it is anticipated that by the year 2030 the US will be short by half a million nurses.

To get more young people interested in nursing and try to prevent the shortage of workers, UnityPoint Health held a nurse camp this summer.

Denise Cundy, The Chief Nursing Executive for UnityPoint Health – Des Moines, said that their goal is to get middle school-aged children interested in healthcare.

“We’re targeting 7th and 8th graders who are as they’re moving into high school getting them thinking about what classes they should take,” Cundy said, “So really trying to get them to understand what nursing is and interested in the profession of nursing or healthcare.”

The camp uses UnityPoint’s Simulation Center which has simulated emergency and exam rooms along with all of the equipment found in them. Campers learn first aid, how to check vital signs, and more. They also finish camp with a certification in CPR.

Cundy hopes that campers who are inspired to go into nursing someday make their way back to UnityPoint.

“We’ll be tracking names and hopefully we’ll be keeping in touch with them even after the camp and in years to come if we’re able to and really try to bring them into the profession and organization as well,” Cundy said.

The camp is already on a waitlist for next year and UnityPoint is still determining how many sessions they will have. To learn more about the nursing camp email UnityPoint at dmsimulationeducation@unitypoint.org.